Online Pass nets EA $10-$15m

Revenues "haven't been dramatic".

Online Pass has generated $10-$15 million in revenue for EA since its 2010 launch - a total the company isn't particularly impressed with.

Online Pass, seen by many as an attempt to combat second hand video game sales, is required to access online features and is included in new copies of games. Pre-owned buyers must pay a fee - usually just under a tenner - for Online Pass.

"The revenues we derive from that haven't been dramatic," CFO Eric Brown said at the Citi 2011 Tech Conference, reported by Gamasutra. "I'd say they're in the $10-$15 million range since we initiated the program."

Still, Brown said the cash generated by Online Pass is "found revenue" from those who previously "consumed bandwidth for free".

EA's Online Pass launched last year with Tiger Woods PGA Tour Golf, but it is now included in all EA games.

It set a trend that Codemasters, Warner Bros., THQ, Ubisoft and, more recently Sony with its Network Pass, have followed.

Last year Brown said the Online Pass scheme had gone down well with consumers.

"The reception of the program has been positive," he said Brown. "We thought about [Online Pass] pretty carefully and there hasn't been any significant push-back from the consumer, because I think people realise that if you're buying a physical disc and it requires an attachment to someone else's network and servers, [those] people realise bandwidth isn't free.

"So the fact that we're diffusing or covering online costs is not viewed to be unreasonable. We're well into this program and there is no consumer backlash."

Last week Driver: San Francisco developer Reflections told Eurogamer gamers will "just have to get used to" Online Pass schemes.

"If people don't buy the game when it first comes out and wait and pay for rental or for second-hand usage, then the publisher sees absolutely nothing of that," studio founder Martin Edmonson said.

"I see how much work, effort, money and risk goes into the creation of these games. I think it's entirely right that everybody who's involved - the people who take the risk - should have a reasonable chance at a financial recouping from that.

"If you want these games to be produced at the level they're being produced at, the cost they're being produced at... Everyone wants something for nothing, don't they? They're very, very expensive and high risk - huge risk, actually."

"It's one of those things that we just have to get used to," he added, "it's going to happen."

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